Technology to Market 3 (T2M3)

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The Technology to Market 3 (T2M3) funding program accelerates the research and development of highly impactful solar energy technologies. T2M3 encourages continued innovation within every sector of the solar economy, from manufacturers to financiers to installers. Selected projects focus on research to address early-stage, pre-commercial risks so that those projects can subsequently attract private follow-on funding. At a high level, T2M3 projects develop products to leverage new and emerging technologies, increase system values while reducing hardware costs, improve business operational efficiency, expand the investor pool for project development, and increase consumer access to solar.

Selected projects were announced on July 12, 2017. Read the announcement.

Approach

This funding program targets for-profit businesses that have the ability to research and develop innovative concepts that will improve solar energy system cost structures and advance the solar industry.

Objectives

Working with entrepreneurs and small solar businesses will help achieve a levelized cost of solar energy of $0.03 per kilowatt hour. This will help to enable greater amounts of solar to connect to the electric grid, while producing a significant percentage of our nation’s electricity from solar energy. In addition, the projects in this funding program aim to grow the solar energy workforce, expand access to solar energy and expand solar manufacturing in the United States.

Awardees

Location: Santa Monica, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $2,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $500,000
Project Summary: Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants are able to store the sun’s energy via nitrate salts that are held in large metallic tanks. An expensive stainless steel is needed in order to store the salts at 565o and 580o C.   This project is developing new tank designs that will eliminate the need for expensive alloys, which will help to make CSP plants more cost effective and pave the way for storage solutions in the future as the industry enables nitrate salts to reach even higher operating temperatures.

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $885,711
Awardee Cost Share: $914,193
Project Summary: This project is focused on improving the efficiency and efficacy of solar operations and maintenance (O&M) through Krypton Shine, an advanced O&M decision engine to reduce costs. The most practical way to achieve cost reduction in this area while simultaneously improving reliability is to assist solar O&M teams to automatically learn from ongoing activities such that every O&M data point helps increase asset performance and reliability and supports reduction of costs.

Location: Akron, OH
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $287,199
Project Summary: Echogen will lead the conceptual design and modeling of a sCO2 power cycle for the TCES application. Southern Research will continue the development, testing, and optimization of MgO sorbent materials. The teams will combine to complete the conceptual design of a prototype TCES reactor for a test program to be conducted at Echogen’s prototype sCO2 test loop. The prototype system will be fabricated and tested over a large number of simulated solar storage and discharge cycles.

Location: Urbana, IL
SunShot Award Amount: $1,153,464
Awardee Cost Share: $232,225
Project Summary: This project is developing a hardware prototype of a scalable 60-100 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic inverter. The prototype will comprise of several kW sub-modules that enable various power levels to be implemented using a common framework. At the conclusion of the project, a fully tested, commercially relevant, laboratory-made prototype will be demonstrated with high volume manufacturing costs below $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.

Location: Broomfield, CO
SunShot Award Amount: $1,600,000
Awardee Cost Share: $400,000
Project Summary: This project addresses several of the key remaining barriers for using molten salt heat transfer fluids in utility-scale projects that use parabolic trough concentrating solar power technology. Commercial development of this technology has the potential to provide highly cost competitive, dispatchable solar power around the clock, providing an alternative to conventional generation sources and enabling higher penetrations of non-dispatchable renewable resources.

Location: Seattle, WA
SunShot Award Amount: $796,810
Awardee Cost Share: $220,000
Project Summary: This project is creating the solar industry’s first proprietary technology platform for monitoring and remotely diagnosing residential and commercial solar systems, which will protect and accelerate capital investments into the solar industry. The predictive performance platform is being designed to quickly and accurately detect all types of system performance issues and to guarantee the lifetime performance of the system.

Location: Somerville, MA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $2,582,021
Project Summary: This project is developing kerfless, single crystal wafer manufacturing technology that enables a projected all-in cost reduction of at least 25% in solar panel manufacturing. This project also supports the production of sample wafers for process development and product demonstration with industry partners.

Location: Santa Barbra, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $2,500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $2,500,000
Project Summary: This project is researching the integration of organic photovoltaic materials with commercial windows to accelerate transition of a lab-made, commercially relevant prototype to a fully developed prototype that has passed initial reliability and certification testing and is ready to begin pilot manufacturing. The prototype will be slot-die coated, large area modules as opposed to previous spin-coated, small area modules.

Location: Boston, MA
SunShot Award Amount: $800,000
Awardee Cost Share: $265,992
Project Summary: The commercial and industrial solar market is constrained by the lack of bankable public credit ratings for offtakers, also known as solar power purchasers, which is a common requirement for long-term, third-party project finance. Energetic Insurance is developing a new data-driven underwriting platform to create a novel insurance product that mitigates offtaker credit risk.

Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $3,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $1,500,000
Project Summary: This project is building an online platform that will target and prequalify eligible homeowners, specifically low- and moderate-income homeowners, for Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) financing. R-PACE is a financing mechanism for solar, energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades for residential property owners. Homeowners will be matched with the most appropriate solar and energy efficiency product bundle, R-PACE administrator, and installer.

Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $923,750
Awardee Cost Share: $923,750
Project Summary: The North American Energy Standards Board’s Open Energy Services Provider Interface (OpenESPI), commonly called Green Button Connect, is an interface that utilities can deploy that enables customers to easily share their historical and ongoing bill and usage data with companies that need it. This project is building a Green Button Connect product that will be the first specifically for solar consumers and providers.  

Location: Boston, MA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,600,000
Awardee Cost Share: $1,600,000
Project Summary: This project is developing a scalable online product that enables consumers to freely choose solar equipment, financing, and installation options. Inefficiencies in the current solar shopping process have constrained consumer options and increased acquisition costs; by taking a consumer-centric approach, this project aims to maximize consumer choice and autonomy, resulting in more solar homes and businesses across the United States.

Location: Norcross, GA
SunShot Award Amount: $2,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $2,378,892
Project Summary: This project is working to develop commercially viable perovskite solar modules through material and process research and development of prototype modules on high-speed, roll-to-roll printing tools. Energy Materials Corporation will leverage the full cost reduction potential of roll-to-roll processes by using only low-temperature processes and producing prototype modules with conversion efficiencies on par with silicon technologies.

Location: Santa Rosa, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $480,000
Awardee Cost Share: $120,000
Project Summary: This project is developing a combination WiFi and wireless mesh network gateway that connects distributed energy resources, such as residential solar sites, to the internet. Current single path link technologies are unreliable and 20% of fleets have dropped offline, becoming invisible to their operators. This innovative, long-range wireless mesh protocol allows widely-dispersed distributed energy resource sites to share their existing standard internet securely, significantly lowering lifetime costs.

Location: Nashua, NH
SunShot Award Amount: $443,120
Awardee Cost Share: $143,798
Project Summary: This project is developing a new material to be used for photovoltaic module backsheets that is lower in cost than traditional materials used in the field today. Backsheets are critical components in providing insulation and protection to modules from environmental factors like moisture and ultraviolet light. This new material will provide superior protection, reducing panel replacement costs and increasing expected service-lifetimes to more than 30 years.

Location: Arnold, MD
SunShot Award Amount: $1,999,812
Awardee Cost Share: $500,000
Project Summary: This project is producing multi-sensor solar energy systems capable of operating wirelessly and without batteries by adapting low-cost, rugged, solid-state technology commonly used to filter radio frequency signals in mobile phones. A previous project by SenSanna developed and demonstrated a laboratory prototype sensor system for wireless temperature, voltage, current, and relative phase measurement on distribution grid power lines. This project will transition the prototype into the next phase, enabling the technology to undergo field trials for eventual commercial use.

Location: Carbondale, CO
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $340,547
Project Summary:

This project is focused on driving down the costs of solar parking canopies using its tensioned cable suspension technology, which will significantly grow the solar carport market. While the process of designing a solar parking canopy previously required customization, this project will transform the product design using a highly efficient, light-weight panel support system that is capable of being mass-produced. The new design will also be engineered to minimize material and construction costs.

Location: San Mateo, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,341,611
Awardee Cost Share: $268,323
Project Summary: This project is developing a prototype for new solar wafer manufacturing technologies with the goal of significantly reducing the cost of materials for existing crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell architectures. Streamlining the wafer fabrication process through more efficient and automated production line tools will eliminate silicon waste while reducing both process and operational complexity.

 

Learn more about SunShot's other technology to market funding programs.